A campaign group who target junk food and the way it’s marketed has produced a report marking out some of the dangers. In all it looked at the major UK TV channels and studied close to 750 adverts which were shown in prime time viewing for young people. The findings were quite shocking to some extent, over 10% of them were promoting some sort of junk food. Ranging from fast food outlets, sweets, biscuits or other forms of fast processed food.
The analysis was actually carried out by researchers from the University of Liverpool and they found that the unhealthy food accounted for about 50% of food adverts and 11% of advertising overall. The campaign group who commissioned the study, have protested that children are being bombarded with adverts for the unhealthy food.
There is a simple reason that these companies target prime time viewing and that’s because it works. Children are more likely to be seduced by these adverts and will then turn their persuasive powers towards their parents. The earlier these adverts go out the more likely the parents will succumb to demands and buy the children junk food rather than perhaps a proper meal.
The campaigners want the ban on these products to be extended to 9pm when less children will see them and they are likely to be less effective due to the later hour. It’s a reasonable request, after all there is increasing concern about our children’s health and weight. Also the current situation is simply allowing children to commercially exploited for financial gain. In some senses just targeting TV commercials won’t solve the problem about this direct marketing to our children.
Many kids spend more time on computers and the internet than watching TV in any case. Also the rules and regulations change per country, many Irish children watch UK TV stations by accessing BBC iPlayer from Ireland like this.
Adverts in this format are much more difficult to regulate when children are watching YouTube channels or using tools to access Facebook (despite often blocks by commercial software) – see this video about how it’s done. In this world advertising can be injected into a child’s view in any number of ways, through direct adverts, sponsorship or even product placements in games and movies. Technical Information: – BBC News Links.
For several years now I’ve been paying a small fortune in cable bills for hundreds of TV stations that I never watch. I had presumed though that my children were at least making use of this expense, but I recently discovered that the most watched channel on my TV was actually the two free BBC kids ones. Which are easy to access even from Ireland using this method for the BBC iPlayer.
So after reviewing my options I decided to save myself this bill and look for alternatives to provide some entertainment for my children at a more affordable price. I had a range of multimedia devices but the two that seemed to work best were a little device called the Roku and the WiiU my children’s favorite games console. There are lots of other devices like the Playstation and Xbox that would work just as well.
My first port of call was the Amazon service that was called Love Film but is now bundled with a membership for Amazon Prime. A free trial was on offer (which is easily cancelled) and I decided to try it out for a month. First of all the interface on the WiiU is awful, there seems to be a huge amount of lag when you select anything or press a key. There’s quite a lot of content on it but nothing that brilliant, most of the latest stuff you have to pay for though to stream. It’s probably worth a look but the interface on the WiiU put me right off as it’s a nightmare to use. If you have access on something else like your TV or Xbox perhaps it will work better – it costs about £72 a year but that it includes all the fast Amazon delivery if you buy lots from them.
Next I checked out Netflix, which worked both on my WiiU and the Roku, slightly prefer the WiiU as you can use the gamepad and screen to browse when someone is watching something else. Be warned though there are lots of different country versions of Netflix and the US one is by far the best – watch this if you want access – How to Get US Netflix. The cost is £5.99 a month and there’s a huge amount of choice.
There’s nothing absolutely new, but hundreds of complete series that you can get your money’s worth – we’ve watched loads of UK series we’d missed, Lost (all 70 odd episodes), Grimm and a load of others. There’s really an awful lot of content and lots of films from about 12 months plus – neat little system to find and recommend. Well worth the investment and I have watched more on Netflix for £5.99 than I ever did on my £69 monthly subscription to SKY TV. It is worth investigating the different versions though, there’s loads more content on the American version and being able to switch countries is most useful – I did it by changing the DNS settings on my router using a Smart DNS service like this video shows.